Copper Hits All-time High
Copper futures skyrocketed to a fresh record high of $4.68 per pound, as inventories stand at levels not seen in fifteen years while speedy vaccination rollouts and trillions in dollars of economic stimulus increased demand. Recent economic readings from the United States and China reinforced this view, while President Biden’s multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan lent further optimism to the copper bulls. Adding to the chipper mood, banks like Goldman Sachs and Citi lifted their bets on copper consumption this year, focusing on its longer-term role in a carbon-free world.
European Stocks Seen Opening Higher
Stock futures in Europe were slightly higher on Friday as investors digest upbeat trade data from China and stronger-than-expected industrial production data for Germany while awaiting the US non-farm payrolls report. On the corporate front, BMW confirmed its full-year profit margin outlook although rising raw material prices could hurt earnings going forward. Siemens raised its full-year profit and sales guidance and Credit Agricole’s profits jumped in the first quarter. Adidas is also due to report today.
South Korean Shares Gain 1.7% for the Week
The KOSPI added 22.37 points or 0.7% to 3201.11 on Friday, closing 1.7% higher for the week and closing near record high valuations as investors tracked a lift in US equities that stemmed from improved US unemployment data. On the coronavirus front, the KDCA reported 525 more COVID-19 cases as rising sporadic cluster infections across the country persist. Meantime, local 10-year bond yields were at 2.143%, while US 10-year rates were at 1.582%. On the data front, South Korea’s current account surplus widened to USD 7.82 billion in February of 2021 from USD 5.94 billion in the same month of the previous year. Exports, which account for half of the South Korean economy, rose 16.6% on-year in March to extending gains for the 5th consecutive month on the back of brisk demand for chips and cars, while Imports gained 18.8% for the 11th consecutive month of surplus.
Finnish Trade Deficit Narrows in March
Finland’s trade deficit narrowed to EUR 305 million in March 2021 from EUR 345 million in the same month of the previous year, a preliminary estimate showed. Exports increased 12.5 percent to EUR 5.7 billion partly due to higher sales of pulp, timbers, industrial machinery and equipment, electrotechnical machinery and equipment, and metals. In contrast, sales shrank for petroleum, paper and cardboard. Among major trade partners increases were seen in exports to Germany, Sweden, Russia, and China. Meanwhile, imports rose at a softer 11 percent to EUR 6.0 billion, as purchases increased for oil and petroleum products; transport equipment and parts thereof. Imports grew from Sweden and Russia. Considering the first three months of the year, the trade deficit declined to EUR 0.99 billion from EUR 1.4 billion in the same period of 2020.